As one of the leads on Pretty Little Liars, Sasha Pieterse was mercilessly body-shamed after she put on weight last year. But now that the hit Freeform show is over, the 21-year-old has turned her sights to Dancing With the Stars, and spoke out about her 70-pound weight gain — which was caused by a hormone condition called polycystic ovary syndrome — on a recent episode.

“ one of the hardest things I’ve ever been through,” she shared. “I had no idea what was going on and I didn’t have any way of solving it.” But, since joining the dance competition, Sasha has lost 15 pounds. “Now, I’m seeing results,” she said. “I think most importantly, I’m feeling like me again.” Scroll down to see how the blonde beauty has grown since the beginning of her career.

She eloquently hit back at trolls after posting on Snapchat.

The actress is definitely a role model for young girls based on the way she handled herself when haters began asking if she was pregnant. She took to Twitter to explain what caused her weight gain.

“There was major backlash on social media,” she wrote in a lengthy message. “People were actually angry that I had gained weight, I was being (and still am) called names, made fun of, the (unfortunate) usual but it wasn’t until people started asking and assuming I was pregnant that I decided to say something.”

Sasha in 2013 (left) and in 2017.

She continued, “I think truly loving yourself is one of the hardest things we as humans can do. We live in a society that literally profits from our self doubt and insecurities. Woman in particular are judged by their looks wether they are in the spotlight or not. We’ve subconsciously been shaped by the notion that we can only base our self worth on how people positively or negatively decide to see us.”

Sasha encouraged her followers to focus their energy inward. “We’ve all heard our parents tell us to treat people the way you want to be treated, but I think often we don’t treat ourselves the way we should be treated,” she said. “I decided at that point to love myself the way I am right now.”

She added, “Do not lower yourself to people who refuse to grow higher. If you don’t love yourself, you’ll continue to chase people who don’t love you either.” Wise words from a beautiful woman!

She showed a lot of promise at a young age.

One of Sasha’s audition tapes surfaced online, and in the clip, fans can see she was destined for stardom at just 12 years old.

She had other roles in TV and movies before starring as Alison DiLaurentis on Pretty Little Liars.

Even though she’s best known for her work on PLL, she had recurring roles on other hit shows. She played Buffy Davis on the CBS sitcom Family Affair and Amanda Strazzulla on the NBC drama Heroes. Her first film credit was for the 2005 action flick, The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl 3-D. We’re rooting for Sasha on DWTS!

Sasha Pieterse’s weight gain is the result of a health condition

Gaining weight for an inexplicable reason is tough on anyone – let alone a teenager on one of the most talked-about shows on TV.

But that’s exactly what happened to 21-year-old Sasha Pieterse, the young blonde best known for playing Alison DiLaurentis on Pretty Little Liars.

The star’s weight was always talked about

Pieterse first began filming the popular teen drama in 2009, when she was just 13 years old. After several seasons on the show, her weight became a topic of conversation as fans noticed the change.

It wasn’t until joining the 25th season of Dancing with the Stars that Pieterse felt comfortable enough to open up about her health struggles and the cause of her weight gain.

On this week’s episode, the star revealed that she had been diagnosed with a hormone condition called Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (also known as PCOS), which caused her to gain 70 pounds over two years.

Pieterse hopes to bring attention to the disease and its most common signs, which in addition to weight gain, includes irregular periods and difficulty losing weight – things she says “seem somewhat normal sometimes depending on your lifestyle, but I feel like you have to just go and get it checked.”

She also emphasized that “PCOS can lead to ovarian cancer and breast cancer and thyroid issues that could’ve been avoided. More than half of woman have it and they don’t even know. It really is a huge issue that I want to share and hopefully help even one person deal with it.”

What you need to know about PCOS

PCOS is a hormone disorder that’s often accompanied by cysts in the ovaries. As Pieterse described, the symptoms include changes in physical appearance (weight gain, extra facial and body hair growth, thinning hair on the scalp, acne). In the long run, it can also lead to diabetes and heart disease.

In order to diagnose PCOS, doctors need to analyze hormone levels in a patient’s blood, along with a physical exam. Some patients may need to have a pelvic ultrasound to check for ovarian cysts.

The bad news is that there’s no cure for the condition, though symptoms can be treated with different medications.

Here are some other stories that might interest you:

• 8 Silent Signs You Have Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)
• Monica, Julianne Hough & Lena Dunham Have A Women’s Health Issue In Common
• 5 Times Selena Gomez Handled Lupus Like A Queen

While her character Alison DiLaurentis is busy on screen standing up to A alongside the other Pretty Little Liars, actress Sasha Pieterse is standing up to body shamers.

Sasha recently delivered a powerful message on Twitter, documenting her journey to self love after a hormone imbalance caused her to gain weight. Not only does Sasha talk about her own struggles, but she calls out the societal expectations that have made her weight gain a particular struggle for her.

“I think truly loving yourself is one of the hardest things we as humans can do,” she wrote. “We live in a society that literally profits from our self doubt and insecurities. Woman (sic) in particular are judged by their looks wether (sic) they are in the spotlight or not. We’ve subconsciously been shaped by the notion that we can only base our self worth on how people positively or negatively decide to see us.”

Sasha goes on to talk about how she learned at an early age to protect herself from the harsh and ridiculous criticism that comes with not only being in the spotlight, but being a woman. She said she knew she had to develop a thick skin not just to be a star, but to keep her soul happy. Her journey started early in her teen years, Sasha wrote, when she started making healthier choices. When she did gain weight, people were very quick to comment on it.

“There was major backlash on social media,” she said. “People were actually angry that I had gained weight, I was being (and still am) called names, made fun of, the (unfortunate) usual but it wasn’t until people started asking and assuming I was pregnant that I decided to say something.”

It’s so sad that Sasha not only had to go through that kind of bullying, but had come to expect it. People gain weight for all kinds of reasons, and sometimes for no reason at all. No matter what, it’s no one’s right to comment, judge, or make fun of it.

Instead of tearing each other down, Sasha encouraged us to focus on learning to love ourselves. “We’ve all heard our parents tell us to treat people the way you want to be treated, but I think often we don’t treat ourselves the way we should be treated,” she wrote. “I decided at that point to love myself the way I am right now. That doesn’t mean I don’t want to improve myself, it means that I am making a point to love myself at every stage and chapter of my life.”

“Do not lower yourself to people who refuse to grow higher,” Sasha continued. “If you don’t love yourself, you’ll continue to chase people who don’t love you either.”

Here’s Sasha’s entire statement:

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Related: Ariel Winter on Constant Body Shaming, Cyberbullying

Check this out:

Sasha Pieterse Describes the Intense Cyberbullying She Experienced After Gaining Weight

Photo: Desiree Navarro / Stringer / Getty Images

As Alison on Pretty Little Liars, Sasha Pieterse played someone who was both a perpetrator and victim of bullying. Sadly, behind the scenes, Pieterse was also experiencing bullying IRL. In a video for ABC and Disney’s #ChooseKindness campaign published on E!, she opened up about the online harassment.

In the video, she explains that she gained around 75 pounds over the course of two years, initially with no clue why. She was finally diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), a hormonal imbalance with symptoms including irregular periods, infertility, and yes, weight gain. Unsurprisingly, when people began to notice her body changing, the trolls decided to insult the actress online. “I didn’t know that’s what was happening to me, so during that time when I was trying to figure it out on my own, it was publicized, and I was on a TV show so it was documented every week,” she recounted. (Related: Knowing These PCOS Symptoms Could Actually Save Your Life)

Pieterse reminds you that while cyberbullying tends to be amplified for celebrities, it’s something that pretty much everyone experiences. “With social media, it makes it really accessible and makes it much easier to hide behind a computer screen,” she says in the PSA. And it basically goes without saying that body-shaming like Pieterse experienced is all too common both on and offline. (See: Why Body-Shaming Is Such a Big Problem and What You Can Do to Stop It)

The Perfectionists actress previously opened up about getting bullied when she was competing on Dancing with the Stars. “It was really, really hurtful the way people reacted,” she said while on the show. “People were saying stuff like, ‘she’s pregnant, you’re fat.’ They were angry, they were mad that I look like this.”

Now Pieterse has joined in the anti-bullying campaign along with other celebrities, including Leighton Meester and Carrie Underwood. Her PLL costar, Janel Parrish, recalled getting made fun of during high school in her own PSA. (Related: Science Says Bullies and Their Victims Tend to Be Obsessed with Their Weight)

Those years of being the target were a “really hard” period in her life, says Pieterse, but she “came out on the other side.” Props to the actress for spreading her story to draw attention to the realities of bullying. Watch her full PSA (and be mindful the next time you think about posting something not so nice on someone’s photo-or saying it to their face!). Then, take a look at some fearless women who have experienced nasty, unwarranted comments about their body, too.

  • By Renee Cherry @reneejcherry

Sasha Pieterse competes on Season 25 of “Dancing with the Stars.” (ABC)

Sasha Pieterse revealed on Tuesday night’s “Dancing with the Stars” she gained 70 pounds over two years due to a hormone condition called Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS).

The former “Pretty Little Liars” star, who will act in an upcoming spinoff of the Freeform show, cried on camera recalling how online haters called her fat and even wondered if she was pregnant.

But Pieterse, 21, was diagnosed with the hormone imbalance and has lost 15 pounds so far while performing on “DWTS.”

“I’m feeling like me again,” Pieterse said on “DWTS,” adding, “Being on the show, I’ve lost over 15 pounds. It’s not an easy road, but being able to focus on getting myself healthy again, and the fact that I’m seeing results, getting better is all I can ask for.”

Actress Sasha Pieterse in a promotional shot for “Dancing With The Stars” revealed she gained 70 pounds in two years due to a hormone condition. She poses on the red carpet in 2014 on the right. (ABC/Reuters)

After dancing a samba with partner Gleb Savchenko on Tuesday’s show for a strong score of 22 and judges’ raves, she sobbed to co-host Erin Andrews, “I went through a hard time.”

After the show, Pieterse told reporters of her medical condition, “It’s a combination of me finding out what I have and ‘Dancing with the Stars’ helps me tremendously…but just the process, how hard we’re working and how healthy I feel, I really feel like myself again. It’s great.”

The star explained with PCOS “there’s a lot of symptoms that can be many things for women.”

“It’s like irregular periods, weight gain, impossible to lose weight. There’s all these things that seem somewhat normal sometimes, depending on your lifestyle, but I feel like you just kind of have to go and get it checked because if you have a hormonal imbalance, it could definitely be PCOS and that can lead to ovarian cancer and breast cancer and thyroid issues and many things later that could have been avoided. More than half of women have it and they don’t even know. It really is a huge issue I really want to share and hopefully help people deal with it.”

She said feeling better “makes me more comfortable and confident and I’m doing two dances really well in the second week , which is really hard. That makes me feel even more excited for the next week.”

The actress said backstage she follows a healthy diet, noting, “I was exercising like crazy and eating the best that I could before so this just heightens it.”

Pieterse is thrilled that partner Savchenko and everyone else at “DWTS” has been so supportive of her journey.

Sasha Pieterse on ‘Dancing With The Stars.’ Craig Sjodin via Getty Images

Stronger than ever. After revealing that she was struggling with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) on Dancing With the Stars, Sasha Pieterse opened up to Us Weekly on Tuesday, September 26, about her condition and how dancing is helping her feel like herself again.

The Pretty Little Liars star confessed she has already lost 15 pounds since she started rehearsing for the competition show after her hormonal disorder caused her to gain 70 pounds in two years.

“To be honest here’s the thing, I was exercising like crazy and was eating the best that I could before. This just heightens it,” Pieterse, 21, told Us about shedding those pounds.

“It’s a combination. It’s a combination of me finding out what I have, and then Dancing with the Stars helps me tremendously. Having Gleb as a partner. He’s amazing,” she told Us. “But just the process in general – how hard we’re working and how healthy I feel. I really feel like myself again.”

In regards to revealing her condition on national television, the actress says it was not easy. “I’ve never really done that before. I’ve never really been on a show like this. I’ve never that experience. Having Gleb and everyone at Dancing with the Stars be so supportive of me and having that outlet means a lot,” she said. “The fact that I can open up and share this with people and hopefully bring awareness to PCOS is really all I can ask for. This has been an amazing experience.”

Sasha Pieterse attends the Centerpiece Gala Presentation And World Premiere Of “Inherent Vice” during the 52nd New York Film Festival at Alice Tully Hall on October 4, 2014 in New York City. Taylor Hill/FilmMagic

The PLL star shared that some common symptoms of PCOS are irregular periods, weight gain and difficulty losing weight, and she urges women to go to the doctor and get tested for it.

“There are all these things that seem somewhat normal sometimes depending on your lifestyle, but I feel like you have to just go and get it checked,” she told Us. “If you have a hormone imbalance, it can definitely be PCOS and that can lead to ovarian cancer and breast cancer and thyroid issues and many things later that could’ve been avoided.”

She concluded: “More than half of women have it and they don’t even know. It really is a huge issue that I want to share and hopefully help even one person deal with it.”

Dancing With the Stars airs on ABC Monday at 8 p.m. ET and Tuesday at 9 p.m. ET.

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Polycystic ovarian syndrome, or PCOS, is a complicated hormonal condition that’s notoriously difficult to diagnose. A lot of that has to do with the wide range of symptoms that come with it, which include irregular periods, hormonal acne, abnormal hair growth, thinning hair, and unwanted weight gain or an inability to lose weight. Despite the difficulty in spotting and diagnosing the condition, it’s very common, affecting six to 12 percent of child-bearing women in the US alone.

© Getty / Paul Archuleta / Stringer Here’s How PLL’s Sasha Pieterse Found Out She Had PCOS – and Why She Shared Her Story

Actress Sasha Pieterse is one of them, and she experienced the wrenching difficulty of diagnosis firsthand. The actress, who plays Alison on Pretty Little Liars and its new spinoff, The Perfectionists, first realized something was off when she started experiencing weight fluctuations. “I was so confused, because I’m a healthy, active person,” she told POPSUGAR. “I cut everything bad out. I was working out five days a week, as much as I possibly could. So to have it get worse, even though I’m doing all the right things, was so frustrating.”

It took her a long time and visits to 17 different gynecologists before an endocrinologist told her that PCOS was behind the weight issues. Sasha had never even heard of the condition, but finding out what was causing the fluctuations was a relief.

“A big weight was lifted off my shoulders, no pun intended,” she said. “To know what it all was, what was going on with me.” Finally figuring it out after so long was Sasha’s main motivation to share it with her fans and social media community. “I felt like I kind of had to say something,” she said. “Not just to explain what was going on with me, but also for awareness, because so many women have PCOS and they don’t even know.” That’s not only hard to go through, but also dangerous, because women with PCOS have a higher risk of experiencing other complications, including some forms of cancer. “I’m very lucky that I caught it early,” Sasha said.

After Sasha shared her story on social media, she said, she was shocked by how many people approached her to talk about it and share their own stories. “There are so many women that have it and don’t talk about it, which is sad,” she said. “I think it’s sad that it’s taboo. It shouldn’t be. It shouldn’t be at all.”

Proper diagnosis and treatment are key to keeping PCOS under control. Treatment options typically include combination birth control pills, a hormonal IUD, ovulation medications for women trying to get pregnant, and a healthy diet and exercise routine, which can lessen the risk of diabetes (which is common among women with PCOS). If you think you might have PCOS, visit a doctor who’s familiar with PCOS, hormones, or endocrine functionality. You and your doctor will ultimately decide on the best strategy that works for you.

Sasha pieterse gaining weight

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